The Yankees, desperate for starting pitching with 60 percent of their Opening Day rotation down and two out for the season, made a move Sunday to acquire righthander Brandon McCarthy from the Diamondbacks for lefthander Vidal Nuno, who’d been pressed into a starting role in New York.
McCarthy, who turns 31 Monday, is 3-10, 5.01, but is striking out 7.6 batters per nine and walking 1.6 per nine, both better marks than his career averages. He’s a free agent after the season. He slips in as New York’s No. 3 starter, behind Masahiro Tanaka and Hiroki Kuroda. He made his final start for Arizona on July 3, so could debut as soon as Wednesday.
Nuno, 26, appeared miscast as a starter in the majors. He stepped in when C.C. Sabathia began experiencing knee pain and made 14 starts with New York, going 2-5, 5.42 with 15 homers allowed in 78 innings.
Nuno told WFAN Radio in New York that he will start on Tuesday against the Marlins.
Vidal Nuno, lhp
Service time: 0.055. Arbitration eligible in 2017.
Nuno was originally drafted in the 48th round by the Indians in 2009 out of Baker (Kan.), one of only two major leaguers to attend the private school in Baldwin City. The other was George Washington “Zip” Zabel, who played for the Cubs from 1913-15. Nuno was released by the Indians in 2011 and found his way to the Washington Wild Wings of the independent Frontier League, where he impressed the Yankees, who signed him in 2011. He breezed his way through the Yankees system and was ranked as the organization’s 30th best prospect after the 2013 season. Nuno relies on a sinker/slider combination, with a fastball in the 87-90 mph range. He has a knack for pitching, and can locate his curveball and changeup, but when he misses, hitters punish his pedestrian stuff. Overall this season, he held lefties to a .232 average (16-for-69) with nine walks and 17 strikeouts.
Brandon McCarthy, rhp
Age: 30 (31 on Monday).
Service time (preseason): 7.122.
Originally drafted by the White Sox in the 17th round in 2002, McCarthy rose quickly through the system and reached the bigs by 2005, thanks to his then-plus curveball and a good two-seamer. He was traded to Texas in December 2006 in a deal that netted the White Sox future major league pitchers John Danks and Nick Masset. McCarthy might be best known for being struck in the head while pitching for Oakland with a line drive by the Angels’ Erick Aybar. McCarthy needed surgery to relieve pressure on his brain. Amazingly, he returned to pitch in 2013.
Command has always been his strong suit and that continues even more than seven years into his major league career. He’s walked just 1.6 per nine this season, better than his career mark. Despite his high ERA, McCarthy’s xFIP of 2.89 indicates his season has been better than it would appear.
The Yankees will be McCarthy’s fifth organization, and it could be a short stay as he’s a free agent following the season.